The 10.1-inch tablet is thin and fast. It sports a 8.3mm-thick body, a 1280×800 display, a Nvidia Tegra 3 processor (making it the world's first quad-core tablet), 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of shooting 1080p video, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and a microSD slot. It weighs 1.29 pounds and has 12 hours of battery life.
The Transformer Prime will run Android 3.2 when it begins shipping in December, with an upgrade to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) promised for the end of the year.
The device costs $499 for a 32GB version and $599 for a 64GB model. An optional attachable keyboard costs $149. It comes in two colors: “amethyst gray” and “champagne gold.”
2011 has been a less than stellar year for Android tablet sales. Of the 70 million tablets expected to be sold worldwide this year, a little less than 20% are running Android. Nearly 70% are iPads, according to Gartner’s estimates.
Third-party evidence suggest that the predecessor to the Transformer Prime, the Transformer, has been something of an exception. According to Digitimes, Asus is on track to sell 2 million Transformer devices by the need of the year. (Asus CEO Jerry Shen also confirmed on stage in June that the company was selling around 300,000 Transformer tablets per month after it began shipping in April.)
At $400, the Transformer has been the cheapest Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet on the market, and its detachable keyboard made it a convenient alternative for those who wanted to type, but didn’t need the full capabilities of a laptop.
Given what we know of the hardware, Asus may very well have another strong seller on its hands, although the $100 increase in price will make it a more difficult sell given that the entry-level (16GB) iPad is also priced at $499.
The Transformer Prime costs $499 for a 32GB version and $599 for a 64GB model.